Share This Page

Healthy roster should help Riverview rebound from 2-win season

| Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 7:39 p.m.
Valley News Dispatch
Riverview's Tim Wagner catches a pass during training camp at Riverside Park in Oakmont on Thursday August 16, 2012. Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Valley News Dispatch
Riverview's Jake Massack works a blocking drillduring training camp at Riverside Park in Oakmont on Thursday August 16, 2012. Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch

Last year at this time, it appeared the Riverview Raiders were in for a promising season.

But injuries and several vastly improved Eastern Conference teams derailed Riverview's hopes of getting back to the WPIAL playoffs for the first time since 2007.

For instance, Corey Bickert was one of the conference's most talented players. But when he went down, the Raiders needed four or five players to replace him at running back, receiver, defensive back and kick and punt returner.

Despite the loss of 15 starters, fifth-year coach Todd Massack is hopeful of getting back into the playoff chase.

“We have some good kids that have been working hard all summer,” Massack said. “We have a good core group that has spent time in the weight room and in speed workouts. Our goal is to make the playoffs.”

One of the first tasks is to replace quarterback Jake Milberger, who threw for 1,051 yards last season.

Massack is ready to go with sophomore Tyler Nigro, last year's junior varsity signal-caller.

A veritable newcomer, junior Jason Anthony will be Nigro's backup. Anthony played junior high football for the Raiders, then switched to soccer the past two seasons.

Massack's older son, Nick, was among the graduation losses. But the veteran coach is ready to insert another son, Jake, at tight end and inside linebacker.

The passing of the torch from one Massack to another is an example of how familiar names dot the Riverview roster year after year.

Twins Tim and Greg Wagner will be counted on heavily offensively and defensively.

“Tim's our leading receiver from last year and had a good year in track this spring,” Coach Massack said. “He's made the commitment and Greg is one who leads by example. Their father, Dan, also played for Riverview.”

Sean Provenza, who led the Raiders in tackles last season with 145, will be replaced by younger brother Dillon, a sophomore.

Bishop Canevin, a school that has outscored the Raiders, 99-17, over the last two seasons has moved out of the conference, along with Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.

Into the Eastern Conference come Apollo-Ridge and West Shamokin.

“I don't know much about each of those schools, but the conference is closer to that A-K Valley feel,” Massack said. “Still, Avonworth, Springdale, Northgate and North Catholic are very challenging.”

Due to a quirk in the scheduling, Riverview will play just three conference home games and will have five away games. Next season, the sites will be reversed as the Raiders will have five home conference encounters.

A fourth home game this season will be a nonconference meeting with Shenango on Oct. 5 under the portable lights at Riverside Park.

Coach Massack and the Raiders are also excited about their new uniforms.

Riverview will stick with its black-and-gold scheme, but the varsity jerseys will feature throwback shoulder stripes, much like the old Oakmont High School Oaks did under hall of fame coach Elmer Gross, Todd Massack's grandfather.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.